At WORLD magazine, Mindy Belz points out an interesting fact I hadn’t hear before:
Many Americans are surprised to learn that private property is a near-unknown in modern Israel. According to the Israel Land Authority, 93 percent of the land in Israel is in the public domain—either property of the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), or a development authority. The process of expanding housing in Jerusalem is inherently political—involving a government-led bidding process, approved contractors, and long-term leases that regularly devolve into land tenure disputes—all supervised by a government-approved council. Arab residents (over 20 percent of the city’s population) see Jewish neighborhood expansion at the expense of Arab development and cohesion—the Ramat Shlomo development, where the 1,600 units are to go, was founded in 1995 with a few hundred ultra-Orthodox residents, and within five years had a population of 18,000. At the same time Arab extremists like Hamas want to make all of Israel waqf, or endowed in perpetuity to the Muslim community.